How Winter Storms Form
In North America, winter storms, like other storms at other times of the year, require just the right dynamics for a specific weather type to form.
Some of the ingredients include the proper positioning of the jet stream in the middle latitude regions of the United States. The proximity of a relatively warm air massaccompanied by plenty of moisture flowing up from the south is important.
A sufficient amount of cold polar air flowing down from the north is also needed, cold enough to drop temperatures so that frozen or freezing precipitation will fall.
The intensity of a storm depends upon several items, such as the strength and positioning of the jet stream and associated upper air disturbances, the related strength of the horizontal temperature gradients, and the availability of moisture.
The major moisture sources for winter storms in the United States are the North Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific Ocean, and the Gulf of Mexico.
If cold temperatures are in place and a significant amount of moisture is pumped into a storm system from any of these sources, the result could be a major winter storm.
Check the some of the factors that may go into the development of a winter storm.